USA TODAY Sports
Been there, done that.
This need will come very easily to the Mavs. According to ShamSports.com, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter become free agents this offseason.
Marion turned in an excellent defensive series against San Antonio, and Carter knocked down a truly vintage game-winning three-pointer to gift Dallas a 2-1 series lead. The veterans will be difficult to part with, but Dallas must pursue an upgrade at the 3 and on the bench.
Carter, 37, now has three seasons in Dallas under his belt, and while he tallied 11.9 points in 24.4 minutes per game, his shooting fell to a career-low 40.7 percent. Dallas can do better in terms of a bench scorer, although it will be hard not to bring him back if he's willing to sign a cheap deal.
Marion, 35, has spent five seasons with the Mavs, and if he wants to stay and contribute his defense and veteran savvy, he must prepare to take a massive pay cut off the $9.3 million he earned this season. He should also transition to the bench, where he can rest his aging legs, instead of starting. After posting a player efficiency rating of 18.0 last season (15.0 is average), Marion put up a 13.7 this year, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Possible free-agent forwards to target include Al-Farouq Aminu and Trevor Ariza, but Dallas could also look to bolster the bench options at the 3 and 4. Adding a more effective scorer than Devin Harris to the second unit would also help.
Dirk Nowitzki will be a free agent in 2014 as well, but he told Germany's Sport1 in an interview that he will likely stay put in Dallas, via CBS Sports' Zach Harper:
In the summer I will be free agent and likely extend the contract for two or three years. As long as the body supports me, it is still fun to play basketball. ... Mark [Cuban] has always supported me. Even when things were not going well, he has always told me: 'You are and will remain my franchise player.'
Don't worry, Dirk will stay, but his supporting cast needs an injection of youth to buoy the team in a furious Western Conference.
During the 2013-14 regular season, five of Dallas' six leading scorers were at least 31 years old. Those old guys can't possibly be expected to run with James Harden and Stephen Curry on a nightly basis, especially not in the postseason.